maypole, part i.

i.

 

When I was green

and you were six

we danced the maypole at the church

down the lane

and you would be

my last straw

though I didn’t know

it then

 

we built fairy houses from catkins

in the playground

where the trees met the tar

 ran around screeching

at the sky

because we could

and because

to rage is better than

to cry

 

swimming lessons

sharp smell of chlorine

nose and eyes

you threw water at me

so

I scooped up blue from the pool

in my swimming hat

to fling at you

I got in trouble

I didn’t care

 

We were friends

I think.

Am I misremembering?

Conjuring comrades

from the empty air?

 

(I did that later

I don’t deny

I was so lonely

I wished to

die)

 

later on

I could neither scream

or cry

even though I

b u r n e d

all through my threads

the sewn together strands of what

I was

 

a child on the tarmac

beneath

the swallowing sky

I didn’t know then

that catkins don’t hold

fairy dust

that water is not

blue as bells

that you would

hurt me

more

than

them

 

(you were a friend

you were my friend)

 

I did not know

the rules

back then

the flanks they flay

the wounds they rend

the names they chant

(at girls

who cry)

at boys

who dance.

 

(round maypoles)

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